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RHESUS 



Try 

IT;. 



THE ATHENIAN DRAMA 

FOR ENGLISH READERS 

A Series of Veree Translation• of the Greek 

Dramatic Poets, with 0>innientaries and 

Explanatory Notes. 

CSrown 8το, doth, gUt top, 7i. ed. eaoh net. 

Each Volume Dlnstrated from anolent 

Bonlptnrei and Vase-Paintlng. 

AESCHYLUS: The Orestean Trilogy. By Prof. 
G. C. WAaa. With an Introduction on Tbt 
Rue of Greek Tragedy^ and 1 3 Illustrations. 

SOPHOCLES: (Edipm Tyranmu and Colonetu, % 
and Antigone, By Prof. J. S. Phillimori. 
With an Introduction on Sophocles and bis 
Treatment of Tragedy^ and 16 Illustrations. 

EURIPIDES: ff^folytui s Bacchae s Aristo- 

pbanes* * Frogs J By Prof. Gilbert Murray. 

With an Appendix on The Lost Tragedies of 

EuripideSf and an Introduction on The Sign*" 

Jicance of the Bacchae in Athenian History ^ and 

13 Illustrations. [Fifth Edition. 



ALSO UNIFORM WITH THE ABOVE 

THE HOMERIC HYMNS. A New Prose 
Rendering by Andrsw Lano» with Essay• 
Critical and Explanatory, and 14 Illustrations. 

THE PLAYS OF EURIPIDES 

Translated into English Rhyming Verse, with 
Explanatory Notes, by Prof. Gilbert Murray. 

Hippolytus. 1 4th Thousand. ' 

Bacchae. lOth Thousand. 

The Trojan Women. lithTh. 

Electro. nth Thousand. 

Medea. 8th Thousand. 

Iphigefua in Tauris. 6th Th. [Also crown 8vo, 

The Frogs «f Aristophanes. 

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THE 



RHESUS 



OF 



EURIPIDES 



TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH RHYMING VERSE 
WITH EXPLANATORY NOTES BY 

GILBERT MURRAY 

LL.D., D.LiTT., F.B.A. 

RBGIUS PROFBSSOR OF GREEK IN THE UNTVBRSITY OF OXFORD 



LONDON 
GEORGE ALLEN & COMPANY, LTD. 

44 & 45 RATHBONE PLACE 

1913 
[All rights reserved] 



Printed by Ballamtynb, Hakson A* Co. 
At the Dallantyne Press, Ediaburgh. 



INTRODUCTION 

This short play needs rather a long introduction• It 
has had the bad fortune to become a literary problem, 
and almost all its few readers are so much occupied with 
the question whether it can be the work of Euripides 
— and if not his, whose ? — that they seldom allow 
themselves to take it on its merits as a stirring and ad- 
venturous piece, not particularly profound or subtle, 
but always full of movement and life and possessing 
at least one or two scenes of great and penetrating 
beauty• 

The outlines of the Rhesus Question are these. — 
The Rhesus appears in the MSS• of Euripides ; we 
know from the Athenian Didascaliae, or Records of 
Performances, that Euripides wrote a play of the 
name ; some passages in it are quoted by early 
Alexandrian writers as from "the Rhesus of Euri- 
pides ; " no passage is quoted under any other name. 
This seems about as strong as external evidence 
need be• Yet the ancient introduction to the play 
mentions that "some think the play spurious," and 
expresses the odd opinion that " it suggests rather the 
Sophoclean style•" Further, it tells us that, besides 
the present opening scene, there were extant two 
diflPerent prologues, one of which was " quite prosy and 
perhaps concocted by the actors•" This seems to show 
that the Alexandrian scholars who tried for the first 



*^croPu^r^ 



INTRODUCTION 

time to collect the complete works of Euripides, some 
two centuries after his death, found this play current 
as ** Euripides* RhesuSy^ but that it was credited with 
three different openings and that its style was felt to 
be somehow peculiar• 

The peculiarity of style is incontestable• It does 
not to our judgment suggest Sophocles• It suggests 
a young man imitating Aeschylus, and it has a great 
nimiber of Euripideim expressions. Hermann, who 
collected what he took to be ** imitations " of early 
poets in the Rhesus^ noted only 25 of Sophocles, 
38 of Aeschylus, and 84 of Euripides• 

Is it, then, the work of a somewhat imitative fourth- 
century poet, naturally influenced by his great fore- 
runners ? Hardly : because, with a few exceptions, 
the verse and diction of the Rhesus^ are markedly early 
in character, the verse severe and smooth, the diction 
direct and rather grandiose, the choral lyrics strictly 
relevant. In Euripides' later years Drama was moving 
rapidly away from all these things and, as far as we 
can judge, continued so moving after his death. If 
the Rhesus is a post-classical play it can hardly be 
honest fourth-century work : it must be deliberately 
archaistic, a product of the Alexandrian spirit if not 
actually of the Alexandrian age• This is what 
Hermann believed. But unfortunately it is not a 
bit more like our fragments of Alexandrian tragedy 
than it is like the Medea ; and, further, if it is an 
Alexandrian pseudo-classic tragedy, how did it succeed 
in deceiving the Alexandrian critics, detectives specially 
trained for this kind of work ? 

Let us try quite a different hypothesis, and begin by 

vi 



INTRODUCTION 

accepting the external evidence as true. The famous 
critic, Crates, of the second century b,c., happens to 
mention — in excuse of what he took to be a slip in the 
poet's astronomy — that the Rhesus of Euripides was 
a youthful work. Now the earliest dated tragedy of 
Euripides that we possess is the Aicestisj B.C. 438, 
written when he was about forty-six. His style 
may well have been considerably different fifteen or 
twenty years earlier, and must certainly have been 
much under the influence of Aeschylus. So far, so 
good. Then what of the other difficulties, the three 
different opening scenes and the few passages of late 
phrasing or technique ? One obvious explanation 
suits both. The three different openings pretty 
clearly imply that the play was reproduced more than 
once after the poet's death and adapted by the producer 
for each occasion• This happened to many plays of 
Euripides, and in one case we even know the name of 
the producer ; he was Euripides the Younger, son 
of the poet. Among other things we have reason to 
believe that he wrote some parts of the Iphigenia in 
Aulis. And in this connexion we can hardly help 
noticing that the Iphigenia in Aulisy like the Rhesus 
and like no other Greek tragedy, has two alternative 
openings, one a dull prologue and one a lyrical scene 
in anapaests under the stars. The general style of the 
two plays is utterly different ; the Iphigenia is most 
typically late Euripidean ; but one would not be sur- 
prised to learn that they had both passed at some time 
through the same revising hand. 

This hypothesis seems to work well. But one 
difficulty remains. 

We have so far gone on the supposition that 

vu 



INTRODUCTION 

Euripides at twenty-five or thirty perhaps wrote very 
differently from Euripides at forty-six, and that the 
manner we call Euripidean is only the manner of 
his later life. There is nothing improbable in this 
suggestion, but have we any evidence ? Yes, a very 
little, and unfortunately it does not say what we 
want. We have some fragments — twenty lines 
altogether — preserved from the PeliadeSj with which 
Euripides won his first victory in the year 455, 
seventeen years before the Alcestisj and as far as they 
go they are just in his ordinary manner — a good deal 
more so, in fact, than much of the Alcestis is. Let us 
face this difficulty. 

The ordinary style of Euripides is full, flexible, 
lucid, antithetic, studiously simple in vocabulary and 
charged with philosophic reflection. If we look in 
his extant remains for any trace of a style, like that 
of the Rhesusy which is comparatively terse, rich, 
romantic, not shrinking from rare words and strong 
colour and generally untinged by philosophy, we shall 
find the nearest approach to it in the Cyclops, Next 
to the Cyclops I am not sure what play would come, 
but the Alcestis would not be far o£F. It has 
especially several Epic forms which cannot be 
paralleled in tragedy• Now the conjunction of 
these two plays with the Rhesus is significant. The 
three seem to be three earliest of the extant plays ; 
they are also — if we count the Heraclidae as mutilated 
— the three shortest. But, what is more important, 
the Cyclops is not a tragedy but a satyr-play, and 
the Alcestis is a tragedy of a special sort, written to 
take the place of a satyr-play• It is a tragedy with 
some half grotesque figures and a fantastic atmosphere• 

• • • 

vni 



INTRODUCTION 

This is no place for a close analysis of the diction 
of the various works of Euripides; but taking one 
rough test, just for what it is worth, we may try to 
count the number of words in each play which are 
not found elsewhere in Euripides. The Medeoy a 
central sort of play, has in its 1419 lines 103 such 
words. The Akestisy with 11 63 lines, has 122 ; the 
RhesuSy with less than 1 000 lines, has 177 ; the CyclopSy 
with only 701 lines, has actually 220. This calculation 
is doubtless slightly inexact : in any case it is worth 
very little until it is carefully analysed. But on the 
whole it accords with my general impression that the 
Rhesus in its variation from the £uripidean norm goes 
further than the Akestisy and not so far as the CycbpSy 
and goes in very much the same direction. I feel in 
the Rhesus a good deal of that curious atmosphere, not 
exactly comic, but wild and extravagant, which the 
Greeks felt to be suited to the Satyr horde ; the 
atmosphere normally breathed by the one-eyed Giant 
of the cavern on volcanic Aetna, or the drunken and 
garlanded Heracles who wrestles with Death and 
cracks his ribs for him at midnight among the tombs. 
The whole scene and setting of the Rhesus ; the 
man- wolf crawling away into the darkness and his two 
enemies presently crawling in out of the same dark- 
ness with his bloody spoils ; the divine Thracian king 
with his roimd targe that shines by night and his 
horses whiter than the snow ; the panic of the watch, 
the vaunting of the doomed chieftain, the goddess 
disguised as another goddess, the thrilling half-farcical 
scene where the spy Odysseus is actually caught and 
befools his captors: these things are not of course 
comic, like some incidents in the Cyclops. They 

ix 



INTRODUCTION 

belong to tragedy ; but they are near the outside 
Umit of the tragic convention, and would perhaps be 
most at home in a pro-satyric tragedy like the Alcestis. 

In the upshot I see no adequate reason for rejecting 
the external evidence which makes this play a work of 
Euripides, if we suppose it to be an early pro-satyric 
play which was produced again after the poet's death 
by Euripides the Younger or some contemporary. 
Most scholars, however, prefer to think it simply an 
archaistic work of the fourth century. 

On this theory the Alexandrians when looking for 
the Rhesus of Euripides found an anonymous play 
called Rhesus and accepted it for what it was worth. 
The Prologues mentioned in the argument would 
perhaps belong to other plays of the same name; 
one, no doubt, to the real play of Euripides. The 
rich and severe style may, for all we know — for 
direct evidence fails us — be the natural mark of 
some reactionary archaistic school about the time 
of Plato or Aristotle. The same date might well 
be indicated by the great interest our play takes 
in the Iliad, and by its almost ** Alexandrian '* use 
of the gods as ornamental machinery. I cannot call 
such a theory improbable ; but it really amounts 
to rejecting the external evidence in order to place 
the Rhesus in a period of tragic style of which we 
happen to know nothing. It is certainly not con- 
firmed by the scanty fragments we possess of Theo- 
dectes or Chairemon. 

And, if one is to venture into more speculative 
and subjective arguments, I find it rather hard to 
think of any lyric poet except Euripides who could 
have written the Adrasteia chorus or the lines about 



INTRODUCTION 

the Nightingale in the Watchers' Song ; of any play- 
wright except Euripides who would have ended a 
play of gallant martial adventure with the vision of 
a solitary mother clasping her dead son. There are 
many other passages, too, like the mysterious sobbing 
in the dark that heralds the entry of the wounded 
Thracian, and the final passing out of the army to its 
certain defeat, which seem to me more like unde- 
veloped genius than common imitative mediocrity• 
If a nameless fourth-century poet wrote this play, 
I think we should have heard more of him• 

The story of the play is taken straight from the 
Doloneia, an Epic rhapsody which now takes its place 
as the Tenth Book of the Iliad, but was very likely 
independent in the time of Euripides {Rise of the 
Greek Epicy p. 313 f.). The play seems in one or 
two points to follow a more archaic model than 
the version in our Homer. (See notes on 1• 150 
and 1. 175•) 

In Rhesus himself — the name is said to be the 
Thracian form of rex"^ — ^we seem to have the tradi- 
tional divine king of the Thracian tribes about Pan- 
gaion, seen through the eyes of Greek romance. 
He is the son of the greatest of Rivers and the Muse 
of the Mountain : she is simply " The Muse/* other- 
wise nameless, and we are lost if we try to bind 
her down to the identity of any Greek goddess. Like 
many Thracian heroes Rhesus has a dash of the Sun- 
god in him, the burning targe, the white horses 
and the splendour. Like them he is a boaster and 

' Pcrdmet, Cultes et Mythcs de Pangic, p. 17. 

xi 



INTRODUCTION 

a deep drinker, a child of battle and of song. Like 
other divine kings he dies in his youth and strength, 
and keeps watch over his people from some ^^ feast- 
ing presence, full of light,'* where he lies among 
the buried silver-veins of Pangaion• If the utter- 
most need comes, doubtless he will wake again. 
When the Athenians began making their dangerous 
settlements on the coast of Thrace — ten thousand 
settlers were massacred by Rhesus's people about 
465 B.c : Amphipolis not nilly established till 437 — 
they found the legend of Rhesus in the air, and 
eventually they thought it prudent to send for his 
hallowed bones from the Troad, where they were 
supposed to be buried, and give them a tomb in 
the Athenian colony. Possibly that pacified him. 
And his legend in the mouth of the poets seenAed 
perhaps like the story of his own mountaineers, 
multitudes of strong men, stormy and chivalrous, 
terrible in onset, who somehow in the end melted 
away before the skill and persistent courage of a 
civilised Greek city. 



xit 



RHESUS 



CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY 

Hector, Prince ofllion and General of the Trojan Armies, 

Aen£as, a Trojan Frince' 

DOLON, a Trojan, 

Paris, also called Alexander, brother of Hector, 

Rh£sus, King of Thrcue , son of the River Str^mon and the Muse 

of the Mountains, 
A Thracian, the King^s charioteer, 

Odysseus» a Greek chieftain^ famous for craft and daring, 
DlOM^D^S, a Greek chieflain^ famous for valour, 
A Shepherd. 

The Goddess Athena. 

The Muse of the Mountains. 

Chorus of Trojan Gttards with their Leader. 

Some Thracians with their Captain, Attendants^ or*c. 

The date and authorship of the play are unknown ; it probably 
belongs to the Fifth Century B,C., and is attributed to Euripides, 



νν• Ι-ΙΟ 



RHESUS 

It is a clmdy but moonlight night on the plain before Troy. 
The Trojans and their allies have won a decisive victory 
and are camping on the open field close to the Greek 
outposts. The scene is in front of a rude tent or hut 
that has been set up for Hector, the Trojan leader. 
A watch-fire burns low in front. Far off at the 
back can be seen rows of watch-fires in the Greek 
camp. The road to Troy is in front to the left ; the 
road to Mount Ida leads far away to the right. 

All is silence ; then a noise outside. Enter tumultuous ly a 
band of Trojan Pickets. 

Various Voices. 

{The dash — in these passc^es indicaies a new speaker,) 

On to the Prince's quarters ! — Ho ! 
Who is awake ? What man-at-arms, 
Or squire or grooni ? — Let Hector know 

New rumour of alarms 
From sentinels who stand at mark 
The four long watches of the dark, 
While others sleep. — Uplift thine head, 
Ο Hector ! On thine elbow rise, 
Unhood the eagle of thine eyes, 

Up from thy leaf-strewn bed ! — 

Lord Hector ! 



EURIPIDES w. 11-28 

Hector {coming out from the tent). 

Who goes there ? Who cries l• 
A friend ? The watchword ! ... By what right 
Do men come prowh'ng in the night 
Across my quarters ? Come ! Speak out. 



A picket, Lord. 



Leader. 



Hector. 
In such a rout ? 



Leader. 
Be not afraid, Lord. 

Hector. 

I am not. 
Is there an ambush ? No ? Then what, 
In God's name, brings you from your post 

With no clear tale to speak. 
To spread this turmoil through a host 
That lies in harness — do ye all 
Know nothing ?— out against the wall 

And gateways of the Greek ? 

Chorus {various voices confusedly)» [Strophe, 

To arms ! To arms, Lord Hector ! — Send 

First where the allied armies lie. 
Bid them draw sword and make an end 

Of sleep. — Let someone fly 
And get the horses* armour on ! — 
Who goes with me to Panthoos* son ? — 

4 



w.2^S4 RHESUS 

Who's for Sarp£don and the Lycians ? — None 
Hath seen the priest go by ? — 
Ho, Captain of the Runners, ho ! — 
Ho, Trojans of the hornod bow ! 

String, string ! For need is nigh. 

Hector. 

Ha, silence there ! • . • 

First words of fear, 

Then comfort. AH an empty swell ! 
It seems the lash of trembling Pan 
Hath caught you. Speak, if speak ye can. 
What tidings ? Not a word is clear 

Of the whole tale ye tell. 

[The turmoil subsides^ the Leader comes forward• 

Leader. [Antistr. 

Great beacons in the Argive line 

Have burned, my chief, through half the night. 
The shipyard timbers seemed to shine. 

•Then, clear against the light. 
Toward Agamemnon's tent the whole 
Army in tumult seemed to roll. 
As stirred by some strange voice, shoal after shoal. 

A night of such discord 
Was never seen. And we, in dread 
What such things boded, turned and sped 

Hither ; dost blame us. Lord ? 

Hector {afler a moment of thought). 

No ! Welcome, friend, with all thy tale of fear ! 
It shows they mean to fly : they mean to clear 

5 



EURIPIDES w. 55-78 

Decks in the dark and so delude my sight . • . 
I like that beacon-burning in the night. 

Ο Zeus above, who checked my conquering way. 
Who baulked the hungry lion of his prey 
Or ever I could sweep my country clear 
Of these despoilers, dost thou hate my spear i 
Had but the suit's bright arrows failed me not, 
I ne'er had rested till the ships were hot 
With fire, and through the tents upon the plain 
This bloody hand had passed and passed again ! 
Myself, I longed to try the battle-cast 
By night, and use God's vantage to the last, 
But sage and prophet, learned in the way 
Of seercraft, bade me wait for dawn of day. 
And then — leave no Greek living in the land. 
They wait not, they, for what my prophets planned 
So sagely. In the dark a runaway 
Beats a pursuer. 

Through our whole array 
Send runners ! Bid them shake off sleep and wait 
Ready with shield and spear. 'Tis not too late 
To catch them as they climb on board, and slash 
Their crouching shoulders till the gangways splash 
With blood, or teach them, fettered leg and arm, 
To dig the stiff clods of some Trojan farm. 

Leader. 

My Prince, thy words run fast Nor thou nor I 
Have knowledge yet that the Greeks mean to fly. 

Hector. 

What makes them light their beacons? Tell me, 

what? 

6 



w. 79-90 RHESUS 

Leader. 
God knows ! And, for my part, I like it not. 

Hector. 

What, feared ? Thou wouldst be feared of every- 
thing ! 

Leader. 
They never lit such light before, Ο King. 

Hector. 
They never fled, man, in such wild dismay. 

Leader {yielding). 
'Twas all thy work. — ^Judge thou, and we obey. 

Hector. 

My word is simple. Arm and face the foe. 

[A sound of marching without. 

Leader. 

Who comes ? Aeneas, and in haste, as though 
Fraught with some sudden tiding of the night. 

Enter Aeneas. 

Aeneas. 

Hector, what means it ? Watchers in affright 
Who gather shouting at thy doors, and then 
Hold midnight council, shaking all our men ? 

Hector, 
To arms, Aeneas ! Arm from head to heel ! 



EURIPIDES w. 91-109 



Aeneas. 



What is it ? Tidings ? Doth the Argive steal 
Some march, some ambush in the day's eclipse ? 

Hector. 
'Tis flight, man ! They are marching to the ships» 

Aeneas. 
How know'st thou ? — Have we proof that it is flight ? 

Hector. 

They are burning beacon-fires the livelong night. 
They never mean to wait till dawn. Behind 
That screen of light they are climbing in the blind 
Dark to their ships — unmooring from our coast. 

Aeneas (looking toward the distant fires : 

afier a pause), 
God guide them ! — Why then do you arm the host ? 

Hector. 

I mean to lame them in their climbing, I 
And my good spear, and break them as they fly. 
Black shame it were, and folly worse than shame, 
To let these spoilers go the road they came 
Unpunished, when God gives them to us here. 

Aeneas. 

Brother, I would thy wit were like thy spear ! 

But Nature wilk not one man should be wise 

In all things ; each must seek his separate prize. 

And thine is battle pure. There comes this word 

8 



w• 110-136 RHESUS 



Of beacons, on the touch thy soul is stirred : 

" They fly ! Out horse and chariots ! " — Out withal 

Past stake and trench, while night hangs like a pall ! 

Say, when we cross that coiling depth of dyke. 

We find the foe not fled, but turned to strike j 

One check there, and all hope of good return 

Is gone. How can our men, returning, learn 

The tricks of the palisade ? The chariots how 

Keep to the bridges on the trenches' brow. 

Save with jammed wheels and broken axles ? Aye, 

And say thou conquer : other wars yet lie 

Before thee. Peleus' son, for all his ire. 

Will never let thee touch the ships with fire 

Or pounce on his Greek lambs. The man will bide 

No wrong and standeth on a tower of pride. 

Nay, brother, let the army, head on shield. 
Sleep o£F its long day's labour in the field : 
Then, send a spy ; find someone who will dare 
Creep to yon Argive camp. Then, if 'tis clear 
They mean flight, on and smite them as they fly. 
Else, if the beacons hide some strategy, 
The spy will read it out, and we can call 
A council. — Thus speak I, my general. 

Chorus. [Strophe, 

'Tis good ! 'Tis wisdom ! Prince, give heed 

And change the word thy passion gave. 

No soldier loveth, in his need. 

The glory of a chief too brave. 

A spy is best : a spy, to learn 

For what strange work those beacons burn 

All night beside the guarded wave. 

9 



EURIPIDES VT.I37-IS7 

Hector. 

Ye all so wish it ? — Well, yc conquer me, 

{To Aeneas) Go thou and calm the allies. There 

will be 
Some stir among them, hearing of these high 
And midnight councils. — I will seek the spy 
To send to the Greek camp. If there we learn 
Of some plot hatching, on the man's return 
I straight will call thee and share counsels. So. 
But wait attentive. If he says they go 
Shipward and plan to escape, one trumpet call 
Shall warn thee, and I wait no more, but fall 
On camp and hulls, or ever dawn can rise. 

Aeneas. 

Aye, haste and send him. Now thy plans are wise. 
And when need comes I am with thee, sword by 
sword. [Exit Aeneas. 

Hector (turning to the Guards and other soldiers). 

Ye gathered Trojans, sharers of my word, 

Who dares to creep through the Greek lines alone ? 

Who will so help his fatherland ? 

Doth none 
Offer ? Must I do everything, one hand 
Alone, to save our allies and our land ? 

[A lean dark man pushes forward from the hack. 

DOLON. 

I, Prince ! — I offer for our City's sake 
To go disguised to the Greek ships, to make 
Their counsels mine, and here bring word to thee. 
If that be thy full service, I agree. 

ID 



w. 158-171 RHESUS 

Hector. 

Dolon the Wolf ! A wise wolf and a true ! 
Xhy father's house was praised when first I knew 
Xroy : this shall raise it twofold in our eyes. 

Dolon. 

'Xis wise to do good work, but also wise 
To pay the worker. Aye, and fair reward 
Makes twofold pleasure, though the work be hard. 

Hector. 

So be it : an honest rule. Do thou lay down 
What guerdon likes thee best — short of my crown. 

DOLON. 

I care not for thy crowned and care-fraught life. 

Hector. 
Wouldst have a daughter of the King to wife ? 

DoLON. 

I seek no mate that might look down on me. 

Hector. 
Good gold is ready, if that tempteth thee. 

DoLON. 

We live at ease and have no care for gold 

Hector. 
Well, Troy hath other treasures manifold. 

II 



EURIPIDES ▼v.i7»-i83 

DOLON. 

Pay me not now, but when the Greeks are ta'en. 

Hector• 
The Greeks! . • • Choose any save the Atridae twain. 

DOLON. 

Kill both, an it please thee. I make prayer for none* 

Hector• 
Thou wilt not ask for Ajax, Ileus' son ? 

DOLON. 

A princely hand is skilless at the plough. 

Hector. 
TTis ransom, then ? . . . What prisoner cravest thou ? 

DoLON. 
I said before, of gold we have our fill. 

Hector 
For spoils and armour . . . thou shalt choose at will. 

DoLON. 

Nail them for trophies on some temple wall. 

Hector. 
What seeks the man ? What prize more rich than all ? 

DoLON. 

Achilles* horses ! [Murmurs of surprise. 

Yes, I need a great 
Prize. I am dicing for my life with Fate. 

12 



▼▼. 184-203 RHESUS 

Hector. 

'Fore God, I am thy rival, if thy love 

Lies there• Undying was the breed thereof, 

And these shall never die, who bear to war 

Great Peleus* son, swift gleaming like a star. 

Poseidon, rider of the wild sea-drift, 

Tamed them, men say, and gave them for his gift 

To Peleus. — None the less, since I have stirred 

Hopes, I will baulk them not. I pledge my word, 

Achilles' steeds, a rare prize, shall be thine. 

DOLON. 

I thank thee. — *Tis indeed a prize more fine 

Than all in Troy. — Grudge me not that ; there be 

Guerdons abundant for a Prince like thee. 

[Exit Hector. 

Chorus. [Antistr. 

Ο peril strange, Ο fearful prize I 
Yet win it and thy life hath wings : 
A deed of glory in men's eyes. 
And greatness, to be wooed of kings. 
If God but hearken to the right, 
Thou drinkest to the full this night 
The cup of man's imaginings. 

DoLON. 

[He stands waiting a moment looking out into 
the dark. 
There lies the way. — But first I must go find 
At home some body-shelter to my mind ; 
Then, forward to the ships of Argolis I 

13 



EURIPIDES w. 204-223 

Leader. 
What other raiment wilt thou need than this ? 

DOLON. 

A garb for work, for night ; a thieving guise. 

Leader. 

'Tis good to learn the wisdoms of the wise. 
What will thy wrapping be ? 

DoLON. 

A grey wolf's hide 
Shall wrap my body close on either side ; 
My head shall be the mask of gleaming teeth. 
My arms fit in the forepaws, like a sheath, 
My thighs in the hinder parts. No Greek shall tell 
*Tis not a wolf that walks, half visible. 
On four feet by the trenches and around 
The ship-screen. When it comes to empty ground 
It stands on two. — That is the plan, my friend I 

Leader. 

Now Maian Hermes guide thee to thy end 

And home safe ! Well he loves all counterfeit . . . 

Good work is there ; may good luck go with it ! 

DoLON {to himseify gazing out toward the Greek camp). 

There, and then back ! . . . And on this belt shall bleed 
Odysseus' head — or why not Diomede ? — 
To prove my truth. Ere dawn can touch the land 
I shall be here, and blood upon my hand. 

[Exit DoLON. 

14 



w. 224-255 RHESUS 

Chorus. 

Thymbraean, Delian, Birth divine. 
That walkest Lycia's inmost shrine. 

Come, strong to guard, to guide, to follow, 
Comje, bow in hand and girt with night, 
To help thy Dardans as of old. 
When stone by stone thy music rolled — 
Ο conquering Strength, Ο Sire Apollo ! — 
Young Ilion into towers of light. 

Grant that he reach the shipyard, creep 
Keen-eyed through all that host asleep. 
Then back to home and hearth, yet living, 
Where now his father prays alone : 
Yea, grant that, when the Greeks are slain, 
Our wolf shall mount with scourge and rein 
Those coursers of the sea-god's giving. 
Whom Peleus drove in days foregone. 



Alone in those Greek ships to stake 
His life, for home and country's sake : 

*Tis wondrous ! Few be hearts so true 
When seas across the bulwark break. 

And sunlight sickens o'er the crew. 
Ah, Phrygia still hath hearts of rock ! 
The Phrygian spear flies fast and far ! 
Where shall ye find the fool to mock 
Our works in war ? 

Whom will he stab a-sleeping, whom, 
The quick grey wolf, the crawling doom ? 
Grant that he slay the Spartan ! Nay, 

15 



EURIPIDES w. 256.272 

Or Agamemnon's head and plimie 
To Helen bear at dawn of day I 
A lightsome dawn to hear her wail 
Her brother sworn, her King who came 
To Uion with his thousand sail, 
And swords, and flame ! 
[As the song ends Dolon reappears^ in the 
disguise of a wolf. The Guards gather 
round hiniy bidding him godspeed as he 
crawls off in the dark towards the Greek 
camp. Meantime from the direction of 
Mount Ida has entered a Shepherd voho 
goes to Hector's door and calls. The 
Guards seeing him return to their places. 

Shepherd. 

Ho, Master ! 

[Enter HncTOK from tent. 

I would it ofttimes were my luck to share 

As goodly news with thee as now I bear. 

Hector. 

What dulness hangs about these shepherds ! Block, 
Com'st thou to us with tidings of thy flock 
Here in the field in arms ? Who wants thee here ? 
Thou know'st my house ; thou know*st my father's• 

There 
Tell all about thy lucky lambs• — Now go• 

Shepherd. 

Dull wits, we shepherds ! Aye, 'twas alway so. 
Yet still, there is some good news to be told. 

16 



w. 273-288 RHESUS 

Hector. 

A truce there to thy gossip of the fold ! 
Our dealings are of war, of sword and spear. 

[He turns to go. 
Shepherd. 

Aye ; so were mine. That is what brought me here. 

[Hector'^s manner changes. 
A chief comes yonder, leading a great band 
Of spears, with help to thee and all the land. 

Hector. 
From whence ? How do his name and lineage run ? 

Shepherd. 
He comes from Thrace, the River Strymon*s son• 

Hector. 
Rhesus I Not Rhesus, here on Trojan soil i 

Shepherd. 
Thou hast guessed. That eases me of half my toil. 

Hector. 

What makes he there towards Ida i All astray 
Thus from the plain and the broad waggon-way ! 

Shepherd. 

I know not rightly, though one well may guess. 
'Tift hard to land at night, with such a press 
Of spears, on a strange coast, where rumours tell 
Of foes through all the plain-land. We that dwell 
On Ida, in the rock, Troy's ancient root 

17 Β 



EURIPIDES w. 289-316 

And hearth-stone, were well frighted, through the 

mute 
And wolfish thickets thus to hear him break. 
A great and rushing noise those Thracians make, 
Marching. We, all astonied, ran to drive 
Our sheep to the upmost heights. 'Twas some 

Argive, 
We thought, who came to sweep the mountain clear 
And waste thy folds ; till suddenly our ear 
Caught at their speech, and knew 'twas nothing Greek. 
Then all our terror fled. I ran to seek 
Some scout or pioneer who led the van 
And called in Thracian : *^ Ho, what child of man 
Doth lead you ί From what nation do ye bring 
This host with aid to Ilion and her king ? " 

He told me what I sought, and there I stood 
Watching ; and saw one gleaming like a God, 
Tall in the darkness on a Thracian car. 
A plate of red gold mated, like a bar, 
His coursers' necks, white, white as fallen snow• 
A carven targe, with golden shapes aglow. 
Hung o'er his back• Before each courser's head 
A Gorgon, to the frontlet riveted, 
With bells set round — like stories that they tell 
Of Pallas' shield — made music terrible. 
The numbers of that host no pen could write 
Nor reckon ; 'tis a multitudinous sight, 
Long lines of horsemen, lines of targeteers. 
Archers abundant ; and behind them veers 
A wavering horde, light-armed, in Thracian weed• 

A friend is come to Ilion in her need 

'Gainst whom no Argive, let him fly or stand, 

Shall aught avail nor 'scape his conquering hand. 

18 



w. 317-331 RHESUS 

Leader. 

Lo, when the Gods breathe gently o'er a town, 
All runs to good, as water-streams run down. 

Hector {bitterly). 

Aye, when my spear hath fortune, when God sends 
His favour, I shall find abundant friends. 
I need them not ; who never came of yore 
To help us, when we rolled to death before 
The war-swell, and the wind had ripped our sail. 
Then Rhesus taught us Trojans what avail 
His words are. — He comes early to the feast ; 
Where was he when the hunters met the beast ? 
Where, when we sank beneath the Argive spear ? 

Leader. 

Well may'st thou mock and blame thy friend. Yet 

here 
He comes with help for Troy. Accept him thou. 

Hector. 
We are enough, who have held the wall till now• 

Leader. 

Master, dost think already that our foe 
Is ta*en f 

Hector. 

I do. To-morrow's light will show. 

19 



EURIPIDES w. 332-345 

Leader. 
Have care. Fate often flings a backward cast. 

Hector. 

I hate the help that comes when need is past • . . 
Howbeit, once come, I bid him welcome here 
As guest — not war-friend ; guest to share our cheer. 
The thanks are lost, he might have won from us. 

Leader. 

My general, to reject an ally thus 
Must needs make hatred. 

Shepherd• 

The mere sight of those 
I saw would sure cast fear upon our foes. 

Hector {yielding reluctantly^ with a laugh). 

Ah, well ; thy words are prudent ; and {JTo Shepherd) 

thine eyes 
See glorious things. With all these panoplies 
Of gold that filled our Shepherd's heart with joy. 
Bid Rhesus welcome, as war-friend to Troy. 

\Exit Shepherd ; Hector returns to his tent, 
amid the joy of the soldiers. 

Chorus. 

Now Adrasteia be near and guard 
Our lips from sin, lest the end be hard ! 
But he cometh, he cometh, the Child of the River ! 
The pride of my heart it shall roll unbarred. 

20 



w. 346-378 RHESUS 

We craved thy coming ; yea, need was strong 
In the Hall of thy lovers, Ο child of Song ; 
Thy mother the Muse and her fair-bridged River 
They held thee from us so long, so long ! 

By Strymon's torrent alone she sang. 
And Strymon shivered and coiled and sprang ; 
And her arms went wide to the wild sweet water, 
And the love of the River around her rang. 

We hail thee. Fruit of the River's seed, 
Young Zeus of the Dawn, on thy starry steed ! 
Ο ancient City, Ο Ida's daughter. 
Is God the Deliverer found indeed ? 

And men shall tell of thee, Ilion mine. 
Once more a-harping at day's decline, 
'Mid laughing of lovers and lays and dances 
And challenge on challenge of circling wine ? 

When the Greek is smitten that day shall be, 
And fled to Argolis over the sea : 
Ο mighty of hand, Ο leader of lances. 
Smite him, and heaven be good to thee ! 

Thou Rider golden and swift and sheer, 
Achilles falters : appear ! appear ! 
The car like flame where the red shield leapeth. 
The fell white steeds and the burning spear ! 

No Greek shall boast he hath seen thy face 
And danced again in the dancing place ; 
And the land shall laugh for the sheaves she reapeth. 
Of spoilers dead by a sword from Thrace. 

21 



EURIPIDES w. 37^395 

Enter Rhesus in dazzling white armour^ followed by his 
Charioteer and Attendants, The Charioteer 
carries his golden shield. The Chorus break into 
a shout of^ All Hail!'' 

Leader. 

All hail, great King ! A whelp indeed 

Is born in Thracia's lion fold, 
Whose leap shall make strong cities bleed. 

Behold his body girt with gold, 
And hark the pride of bells along 

The frontlet of that targe's hold. 

Chorus. 

A God, Ο Troy, a God and more ! 
'Tis Ares' self, this issue strong 
Of Strymon and the Muse of song. 

Whose breath is fragrant on thy shore ! 

Re-enter Hector. 

Rhesus. 

Lord Hector, Prince of Ilion, noble son 
Of noble sires, all hail ! Long years have run 
Since last we greeted, and 'tis joy this day 
To see thy fortunes firm and thine array 
Camped at the foe's gate. Here am I to tame 
That foe for thee, and wrap his ships in flame. 

Hector. 

Thou child of Music and the Thracian flood, 
Strymonian Rhesus, truth is alway good 
In Hector's eyes. I wear no double heart. 

22 



w. 396-421 RHESUS 

Long, long ago thou shouldst have borne thy part 
In Ilion's labours, not have left us here, 
For all thy help, to sink beneath the spear. 
Why didst thou — not for lack of need made plain ! — 
Not come, not send, not think of us again ? 
What grave ambassadors prayed not before 
Thy throne, what herald knelt not at thy door ? 
What pride of gifts did Troy not send to thee ? 
And thou, a lord of Barbary even as vire, 
Thou, brother of our blood, like one at sup 
Who quafis his fill and flings away the cup, 
Hast flung to the Greeks my city ! Yet, long since, 
Twas I that found thee but a little prince 
And made thee mighty, I and this right hand ; 
When round Pangaion and the Paion*s land, 
Front against front, I burst upon the brood 
Of Thrace and broke their targes, and subdued 
Their power to thine. The grace whereof, not small. 
Thou hast spurned, and when thy kinsmen, drown- 
ing, call, 
Comest too late. Thou ! Others there have been 
These long years, not by nature of our kin • . • 
Some under yon rough barrows thou canst see 
Lie buried ; they were true to Troy and me ; 
And others, yet here in the shielded line 
Or mid the chariots, parching in the shine 
Of noonday, starving in the winds that bite 
Through Ilion's winter, still endure and fight 
On at my side. 'Twas not their way, to lie 
On a soft couch and, while the cups go by, 
Pledge my good health, like thee, in Thracian wine. 

I speak as a free man. With thee and thine 
Hector is wroth, and tells thee to thy face. 

23 



EURIPIDES w.422-44g 

Rhesus. 

Thy way is mine, friend. Straight I run my race 
In word and deed, and bear no double tongue. 

I tell thee, more than thine my heart was wrung, 
Yea, angered past all durance, thus to stay 
Back from thy battles. 'Twas a folk that lay 
Hard on my borders, Scythians of the north ; 
Just when my host for Troy had started forth, 
They fell upon our homes. I had reached the coast 
Of the Friendless Sea and purposed to have crossed 
My Thracians there. We turned ; and all that plain 
Is trampled in a mire of Scythian slain 
Ploughed by our spears, and blood of Thrace withal 
Not stinted. This it was that drowned thy call 
For help and held me back from Ilion*s need. 
I broke their power ; the princes of their breed 
I took to hostage, made their elders swear 
To bring my house due tribute, year by year. 
Then, never lagging, crossed the Pontus mouth. 
Marched by long stages through Bithynia south 
And here am come • • . not drunken with the feast. 
As thou wouldst have me be, not lulled to rest 
In golden chambers. In this harness hard 
I have borne my nights of winter storm that starred 
The Euxine into ice and scared the strong 

Paionians. 

Long I have been, but not too long 
To save thee yet. Friend, this is the tenth year 
Thou labourest on unceasing, with no clear 
Vantage ; day creeps by day, and Ares throws 
The same red dice for thee and for thy foes. 
Now, hear my vow. Before one day's eclipse 
I swear to break their wall, to burn their ships 

24 



vv. 449^473 RHESUS 

And slay their princes. On the second day 
I leave this soil and take my homeward way, 
Thy pains relieved• No Trojan of the land 
Need move, nor turn the buckler in his hand. 
Alone my late-comers will turn the tide 
And smite your Greeks, for all their bitter pride. 

Chorus. 

[The Trojan soldier Sy who have been listening with 
delighty here break out in irrepressible applause. 

All hail ! 

Sweet words and faithful heart 1 

Only may Zeus avert 
From those proud lips the Wrath that none may bear ! 

Never a galleon bore, 

Now, nor in days of yore. 
Prince like to thee, so valiant and so &ir• 

How shall Achilles, how 

Shall Ajax bear him now. 
Or face thy lance ? May I but stand that day 

Watching to see him reel 

Broken beneath thy steel. 
And once in blood his many murders pay 1 

Rhesus. 

Yea, more atonement thou shalt take from me 
For this slow help• — May Adrasteia see 
My heart and pardon ! — When we two have set 
Troy free from these who compass her with hate, 
Soon as the Gods have had their first-fruits, I 
With thee will sail — so help me Zeus on high ! — 
And sack all Hellas with the sword, till these 
Doers of deeds shall know what suffering is. 

25 



EURIPIDES w. 474-491 

Hector. 

By heaven, could I once see this peril rolled 
Past us, and live in Ilion as of old, 
Untrembling, I would thank my gods I To seek 
Argos and sack the cities of the Greek — 
'Twere not such light work as thou fanciest. 

Rhesus• 
These Greeks that face thee, are they not their best i 

Hector. 
We seek not better. These do all we need. 

Rhesus. 
When these are beaten, then, we have done the deed. 

Hector. 
Lose not thy path watching a distant view. 

Rhesus. 
Thou seem'st content to suffer, not to do i 

Hector. 
I have a kingdom large by mine own right. • • • 

What station will best please thee in this fight 
To ground the targe and stablish thine array ? 
Right, left, or midmost in the allies ? Say. 

Rhesus. 

^would please me best to fight these Greeks alone. 
Yet, if *twould irk thine honour not to have thrown 
One firebrand on the ships with me, whv, then 
Set us to fsLCc Achilles and his men. 

26 



^•492-509 RHESUS 

Hector• 

Achilles i Nay, his spear ye cannot meet• 

Rhesus. 
How so i Fame said he sailed here with the fleet. 

Hector. 

He sailed, and he is here. But some despite 

'Gainst the great King now keeps him from the fight. 

Rhesus. 
Who next to him hath honour in their host i 

Hector. 

Next, to my seeming, Ajax hath the most, 

Or Diomede. — But Odysseus is a tough 

And subtle fox, and brave ; aye, brave enough. 

No man of them hath harmed us more than he. 

He climbed here to Athena's sanctuary 

One night, and stole her image clean away 

To the Argive ships. Yes, and another day, 

Guised as a wandering priest, in rags, he came 

And walked straight through the Gates, made loud 

acclaim 

Of curses on the Greek, spied out alone 

All that he sought in Ilion, and was gone — 

Gone, and the watch and helpers of the Gate 

Dead ! And in every ambush they have set 

By the old Altar, close to Troy, we know 

He sits — a murderous reptile of a foe I 

27 



EURIPIDES w. 510-529 



Rhesus. 



No brave man seeks so dastardly to harm 
His battle-foes ; he meets them arm to arm. 
This Greek of thine, this sitter like a thief 
In ambush, I will make of him my chief 
Care• I will take him living, drive a straight 
Stake through him, and so star hini at the Gate 
To feed your wide-winged vultures. 'Tis the death 
Most meet for a lewd thief, who pillage th 
God's sanctuary, or so we hold in Thrace. 



Hector {making no answer). 

Seek first some sleep. There still remains a space 
Of darkness. — I will show the spot that best 
May suit you, somewhat sundered from the rest. 
Should need arise, the password of the night 
Is Phoebus : see your Thracians have it right. 

[ Turning to the Guards before he goes. 
Advance beyond your stations, men, at some 
Distance, and stay on watch till Dolon come 
With word of the Argives' counsel. If his vow 
Prosper, he should be nearing us by now. 

{Exeunt Hector and Rhesus and Attendanti. 
The Guardsy who have been below^ come 
forward slepily from the camp fire^ and 
sit watching by Hector's tent• 

Chorus. 

Say, whose is the watch ? Who exchanges 

With us ? The first planets to rise 

28 



w. 530-545 RHESUS 

Are setting ; the Pleiades seven 
Move low on the margin of heaven. 
And the Eagle is risen and ranges 
The mid-vault of the skies. 

Another. 

No sleeping yet ! Up from your couches 

And watch on, the sluggards ye are ! 
The moon-maiden's lamp is yet burning. 

Third Guard. 

Oh, the morning is near us, the morning I 
Even now his fore-runner approaches, 
Yon dim-shining star. 

Divers Guards {taliing). 
Who drew the first night-watch ? 

Another. 

*Twas one 
Koroibos, called the Mygdon's Son. 

The Guard. 
And after ? 

The Other. 

The Mount Taurus men 
Had second watch : from them again 
The Mysians took it. We came then. 

A Guard. 

'Tis surely time. Who will go tell 
The fifth watch ? 'Tis the Lycians* spell 
By now ; 'twas thus the portions fell. 

29 



EURIPIDES w. 546-561 

Another. 

Nay, hearken ! Again she is crying 

Where death-laden SimoTs falls. 
Of the face of dead Itys that stunned her, 
Of grief grown to music and wonder : 
Most changeful and old and undying 

The nightingale calls. 

Another. 

And on Ida the shepherds are waking 
Their flocks for the upland. I hear 
The skirl of a pipe very distant. 

Another. 

And sleep, it falls slow and insistent, 
nris perilous sweet when the breaking 
Of dawn is so near. 



Divers Guards {talking). 

Why have we still no word nor sign 
Of that scout in the Argive line ? 

Another. 
I know not ; he is long delayed. 

Another. 

God send he trip not on the blade 
Of some Greek in an ambuscade ! 

Another. 

It may be. I am half afraid. 

30 



w. 562-572 RHESUS 

Leader. 

Our time is post ! Up, men, and tell 
The fifth watch• 'Tis the Lycians' spell 
Now, as the portions fairly fell. 

[The Guards pass out to waken the Lycians, 
The stage is empty and dark except for 
the firelightj when a whisper is heard 
at the back. Presently enter Odysseus 
and DiOMEDE in dull leather armour^ 
DiOMEDE carrying at his belt Dolon's 
wolfskin and mask. 

Odysseus. 

Diomede, hist I — A little sound of arms 
Clanking. . . or am I full of void alarms i 

DiOMEDE• 

No. 'Tis some horse tied to the chariot rail 
That clanks his chain. — My heart began to &il 
A moment, till I heard the horse's champ. 

[They steal on fotrthery keeping in the shadow. 

Odysseus. 

Mind — in that shade — the watchers of the camp. 

DiOMEDE. 

I keep in shadow, but I am staring hard. 

Odysseus. 

Thou know'st the watchword, if we stir some guard ? 

31 



EURIPIDES w. 573-584 

DlOMEDE. 

Phoebus• 'Twas the last sign that Dolon gave. 

[They creep forward in silence to the entrance 
^Hector's tent, 

Odysseus. 

Now, forward ! 

[They dash into the tentj swords drawn ; then 
return» 

God ! All empty as the grave I 

DiOMEDE• 

Yet Dolon told us Hector's couch was made 
Just here. For none but him I drew this blade. 

Odysseus. 
What means it ? To some ambush is he gone ? 

DiOMEDE. 

Maybe, to work some craft on us at dawn. 

Odysseus. 
He is hot with courage when he is winning, hot, 

DiOMEDE. 

What must we do, Odysseus ? — He was not 

Laid where we thought him, and our hopes are lost. 

Odysseus. 

Back to our own ship-rampart at all cost ! 
The God who gave him victory saves him still. 
We cannot force Fortune against her will. 

32 



w. 585-598 RHESUS 

DiOMEDE. 

Could we not find Aeneas ? Or the bed 
Of Paris the accurst, and have his head i 

Odysseus. 

Go by night searching through these lines of men 
For chiefs to kill ? 'Twere death and death again. 

DiOMEDR. 

But to go empty back — what shame 'twill be ! — 
And not one blow struck home at the enemy I 

Odysseus. 

How not one blow ? Did we not baulk and kill 
Dolon, their spy, and bear his tokens still i 
Dost think the whole camp should be thine to quell ? 
[Diomede takes Dolon's wo/f-mask off his 

belt and hangs it in Hector's tenty then 

turns, 

Diomede. 

Good. Now for home ! And may the end be well ! 
[As they turn there appears at the back a 
luminous and gigantic shapCy the Goddess 
Athena. 

Athena. 

What make ye, from these sleepers thus to part 
Desponding and with sorrow-wounded heart 
If Hector be not granted you to slay 
Nor Paris ? Little know ye what great stay 

33 C 



EURIPIDES w. 599-623 

Of help is found for Troy. This very night 
Rhesus is come ; who, if he see the light 
Of morning, not Achilles nor the rack 
Of Ajax' spear hath power to hold him back, 
Ere wall and gate be shattered and inside 
Your camp a spear-swept causeway builded wide 
To where beached galleys flame above the dead. 
Him slay, and all is won. Let Hector's head 
Sleep where it lies and draw unvex^d breath ; 
Another's work, not thine, is Hector'^s death. 

Odysseus. 

Most high Athena, well I know the soimd 
Of that immortal voice. 'Tis ever found 
My helper in great perils. — Where doth lie 
Rhesus, mid all this host of Barbary i 

Athena. 

Full near he lies, not mingled with the host 
Of Troy, but here beyond the lines — a post 
Of quiet till the dawn, that Hector found. 
And near him, by his Thracian chariot bound, 
Two snow-white coursers gleam against the wan 
Moon, like the white wing of a river swan. 
Their master slain, take these to thine own hearth, 
A wondrous spoil ; there hides not upon earth 
A chariot-team of war so swift and fair. 

Odysseus. 

Say, Diomede, wilt make the men thy share. 
Or catch the steeds and leave the fight to me ? 

34 



w. 624-^38 RHESUS 

DiOMEDB. 

I take the killing, thou the stablery : 

It needs keen wit and a neat hand. The post 

A man should take is where he helpeth most. 

Athena• 

Behold, 'tis Paris, hasting there toward 

This tent. Methinks he knoweth from the guard 

Some noise of prowling Argives hither blown. 

DiOMEDE. 

Comes he alone or with his ^guards ? 

Athena. 

Alone ; 
Toward Hector's quarters, as I deem, he plies 
His message. He hath heard some tale of spies. 

DiOMEDE. 

Then he shall be the first dead Trojan ! 

Athena. 

No; 
Beyond the ordainid end thou canst not go• 
Fate hath not willed that Paris by thy deed 
Shall die ; it is another who must bleed 
To-night. Therefore be swift ! 

[Exeunt Odysseus and Diomede. 

For me, my guise 
Shall melt and change in Alexander's eyes. 
Yea, till he dream 'tis Cypris, his delight 
And help in need, that meets him in the night, 

35 



EURIPIDES w. 639-^58 

And soft shall be my words to him I hate. 

So speak I ; but on whom my spell is set 

He hears not, sees not, though so near I stand. 

[SA/ becomes invisible where she stands. 

Enter Paris. 

Paris. 

Ho, Hector ! Brother I General of the land ! 
Sleepest thou still ? We need thy waking sight. 
Our guards have marked some prowler of the night. 
We know not if a mere thief or a spy. 

[Athena becomes visible againy but seems 
changed and her voice softer. 

Athena. 

Have comfort thou ! Doth not the Cyprian's eye 

Mark all thy peril and keep watch above 

Thy battles ? How shall I forget the love 

I owe thee, and thy &ithful oiEces ί 

To crown this day and all its victories, 

Lo, I have guided here to Troy a strong 

Helper, the scion of the Muse of song 

And Strymon's flood, the crownid stream of Thrace. 

Paris {standing like one in a dream). 

Indeed thy love is steadfast, and thy grace 
Bounteous to Troy and me. Thou art the joy 
And jewel of my days, which I to Troy 
Have brought, and made thee hers. — Ο Cyprian, 
I heard, not clearly, — 'tviras some talk that ran 
Among the pickets — spies had passed some spot 
Close by the camp. The men who saw them not 

36 



w. 659-676 RHESUS 

Talk much, and they who saw, or might have seen, 
Can give no sign nor token. It had been 
My purpose to find Hector where he lay. 

Athena. 

Fear nothing. All is well in Troy's array. 
Hector is gone to help those Thracians sleep. 

Paris. 

Thy word doth rule me, Goddess. Yea, so deep 
My trust is, that all thought of fear is lost 
In comfort, and I turn me to my post. 

Athena. 

Go And remember that thy fortunes still 
Are watched by me, and they who do my will 
Prosper in all their ways. Aye, thou shalt prove 
£re long, if I can care for those I love. 

[Exit Paris. She raises her voice. 
Back, back, ye twain I Are ye in love with death ? 
Laertes' son, thy sword into the sheath I 
Our golden Thracian gaspeth in his blood ; 
The steeds are ours ; the foe hath understood 
And crowds against you. Haste ye ! haste to fly, — 
Ere yet the lightning falleth, and ye die ! 

[Athena vanishes ; a noise of tumult is heard. 

Enter a crowd of Thracians running in confiisiony in the 
midst of them Odysseus and Diomede. 

Voices {amid the tumult). 

Ha ! Ha ! — At them ! At them ! After them I Down 
with them I — Where are they ? 

37 



EURIPIDES w. 677-685 

Captain. 
Who is that fellow ? Look I That yonder ! 

A Man. 
Rascal thieves, the sort that crawl 
And vex an army in the dark ! 

Captain. 

Ho, this way ! Follow ! This way all ! 
[They pursue Odysseus and Diomed£ ; catch 
them and bring them hack. 

A Man. 
I have them I I have caught them I 

Captain (to Odysseus) 

Whence comest thou ? What art thou ? Say j what 
captain and what company i 

Odysseus (indignantly)» 

'Tis not for thee to know. This day thou diest for 
thy knavery ! 

Captain. 

Stop ! Give the watchword quick, before I have thy 
body on my pike. 

Odysseus (in a tone of authority) 
Halt every man and have no fear ! 

Captain. 
Come, gather round. Be quick to strike. 

38 



w. 686-689 RHESUS 

Odysseus (to Captain). 
Twas thou that killed King Rhesus I 

Captain. 

No : 'tis I that kill the man that killed . . . 
[Flies at Odysskus, but other men hold him back, 

Odysseus. 
Hold back all I 

Voices. 
No more holding back I 

Odysseus {as they attack him). 

What, strike an ally in the field ? 

Captain. 
Then give the watchword ! 

Odysseus. 

Phoebus• 

Captain. 

Right. Ho, every man hold back his spear ! — 
Then know'st thou where the men are gone f 

Odysseus. 

We saw them running, somewhere here• 
[He makes off into the darkness. Diomede 
follows^ and some Thracians. 
39 



EURIPIDES w. 690703 

Captain. 
OS* every one upon their track I 

A Man. 
Or should we rouse the army ? 

Captain. 

No; 
To stir the allies in the night and make more panic ! 
Let us go. 

[The Thracians go off in pursuit. Meantime 
the original Guards who form the Chorus 
have hastened back. The two Greeks are 
presently seen crossing at the hack in a 
different direction. 

Chorus. 

Who was the man that passed ? 

Who, that, so madly bold. 
Even as I held him fast, 

Laughed, and I loosed my hold ? 
Where shall I find him now ? 

What shall I deem of him. 
To steal thro' the guards a-row. 

Quaking not, eye nor limb. 

On thro' the starlight dim ? 
Is he of Thessaly, 
Born by the Locrian sea. 
Or harvester of some starved island's corn ? 
What man hath seen his face ? 
What was his name or race, 
What the high God by whom his sires have sworn ? 

40 



w. 704-7^ RHESUS 

Divers Guards (talking). 

This night must be Odysseus* work, or whose ? — 
Odysseus ? Aye, to judge by ancient use. — 
Odysseus surely ! — That is thy belief? — 
What else ? It seems he hath no fear 
Of such as we ! — Whom praise ye there ? 
Whose prowess ? Say ! — Odysseus. — Nay, 
Praise not the secret stabbing of a thief ! 

Chorus. 

He came once, of old, 

Up thro' the city throng. 
Foam on his lips, a-cold. 

Huddled in rags that hung 
Covering just the sword 

Hid in his mantle's pleat ; 
His face grimed and scored, 

A priest of wandering feet. 

Who begged his bread in the street 
Many and evil things 
He cast on the brother kings 
Like one long hurt, who nurseth anger sore ; 
Would that a curse, yea, would 
The uttermost wrath of God 
Had held those feet from walking Ilion's shore ! 

Divers Guards {talking). 

Odysseus or another, 'tis the guard 
Will weep for this. Aye, Hector will be hard. — 
What^will he say ? — He will suspect. — Suspect ? 

41 



EURIPIDES VF. 725-737 

What evil i What should make you fear ? — 
*Twas we that left a passage clear. — 
A passage ? — Yea, for these men's way, 
Who came hj night into the lines unchecked. 

[A S9und of moaning outsidi in the darkness^ 
which has been heard during the last few 
BneSy now grows into articulato words• 

VoiCB• 
Woe, woe ! 
The burden of the wrath of fate ! 

Guards. 

Ha, listen! Wait. 

Crouch on the ground ; it may be yet 

Our man is drawing to the net• 

Voice. 

Woe, woe ! 

The burden of the hills of Thrace 1 

Leader. 
An ally ? None of Hellene race• 

Voice. 
Woe, woe ! 

Yea, woe to me and woe to thee. 
My master ! Once to set thine eye 
On Uion the accurst, and die ! 

Leader (calling aloud). 

Ho there I What ally passes ? The dim night 
Blurreth mine eyes ; I cannot see thee right. 

42 



TV. 738-756 RHESUS 

Voice. 

Ho, some one of the Trojan name ! 
Where sleeps your king beneath his shield, 
Hector ? What marshal of the field 
Will hear our tale . . . the men who came 
And struck us and were gone ; and we, 
We woke and there was nought to see, 
But our own misery. 

Leader. 

I cannot hear him right ; it sounds as if 

The Thracians were surprised or in some grief. 

l^There enters a wounded man^ walking with 

difficulty ; he is the Thracian Charioteer 

who came with Rhesus. 

Thracian. 

The army lost and the king slain. 

Stabbed in the dark ! Ah, pain ! pain ! 

This deep raw wound . . . Oh, let me die 

By thy side. Master, by thy side ! 

In shame together let us lie 

Who came to save, and failed and died. 

Leader. 

This needs no surmise : 'tis disaster plain 
That comes. He speaketh of some ally slain. 

Thracian. 

Disaster, yea : and with disaster shame, 
Which lights Disaster to a twofold flame 

43 



EURIPIDES w. 757-787 

Of evil. For to die in soldier's wise, 

Since die we needs must • . . though the man who 

dies 
Hath pain ... to all his house 'tis praise and pride ; 
But we, like laggards and like fools we died ! 

When Hector's hand had showed us where to rest 
And told the watchword, down we lay, oppressed 
With weariness of that long march, and slept 
Just as we fell. No further watch was kept, 
Our arms not laid beside us ; by the horse 
No yoke nor harness ordered. Hector's force 
Had victory, so my master heard, and lay 
Secure, just waiting for the dawn of day 
To attack. So thought we all, and our lines broke 
And slept. After a little time I woke, 
Thinking about my horses, that the morn 
Must see them yoked for war. I found the corn 
And gave them plenteously• Then in the deep 
Shadow I saw two men who seemed to creep 
Close by our line, but swiftly, as I stirred. 
Crouched and were seeking to make off unheard. 
I shouted then, and bade them keep away : 
Two thieves, I thought, from the great host that lay 
Round us. They never answered, and, for me, 
I said no more but turned and presently 
Was sleeping. In my sleep there came a dream. 
I seemed to see the horses — mine own team 
I had trained long since and drove at Rhesus' side — 
But wolves were on their backs, wolves, couched 

astride, 
Who drove and scourged ; I saw the horses rear 
And stagger with wide nostrils, stiff with fear. 
And, starting up to drive the beasts away, 

44 



w. 788-809 RHESUS 

I ivoke. — A terror of great darkness lay 
About me, but I lifted up my head 
And listened. There was moaning, like the dead 
That moan at night, and over me there flowed, 
So soft, so warm — it was my master's blood. 
Who writhed beside me, dying ! With a bound 
I sprang up, empty-handed, groping round 
For spear or sword, when, lo, a young strong man 
Was close to me and slashed, and the sword ran 
Deep through my flank• I felt its passage well. 
So deep, so wide, so spreading • • • then I fell. 
And they, they got the bridles in their hand 
And fled. . • . Ah ! Ah ! This pain. I cannot 
stand. 

[^The Guards catch him as he ree/sy and lay 
him on the ground. 
I know, I saw, thus much. But why or how 
Those dead men went to death I cannot know. 
Nor by whose work• But this I say ; God send 
'Tis not foul wrong wrought on us by a friend• 

Leader. 

Good charioteer of that ill-fortuned king. 
Suspect us not« 'Tis Greeks have done this thing. 
But yonder Hector comes. He hath been shown 
The foul deed, and thy sorrows are his own. 

Enter Hector in wrathy with a band of Guards. 

Hector. 

Ye workers of amazement ! Have your eyes 
No sight ? Ye watch and let these Argive spies 

45 



EURIPIDES w. 810-834 

Pass — ^and our friends are butchered in their sleep — 
And then pass back unwounded, hiughing deep 
Amid the galleys at the news they bring 
Of Trojan sluggards and the fool their king ? 
Great God, ye never baulked them as they came, 
Nor smote them as they went ! 

[ii« eye falls on the Captain. 
Who bears the blame 
Of this but thou ? Thou wast the watcher set 
To guard this host till mom. I tell thee yet 
For this deed — I have sworn by Zeus our Lord ! — 
The scourge of torment or the headsman's sword 
Awaits thee. Else, be Hector in your thought 
Writ down a babbler and a man of nought. 

Leader (jgrovelling before Hector). 

Woe, woe ! It was for thee, only for thee, 
I must have gone, Ο Help and Majesty, 
That time with message that the fires were burning. 
Mine eye was keen ; I swear by Simois river. 
It never drooped nor slumbered, never, never. 

From eve till morning ! 
My master, verily, I am innocent utterly, 
Build not such wrath against me, Lord, nor harden 
Thy heart ; let Time be judge ; and if in deed 
Or word I have offended, let me bleed I 
Bury me here alive ! I ask no pardon. 

[Hector is standing over him ready to strike 
when the Charioteer speaks. 

Thracian. 

Why threaten them ? Art thou a Greek to blind 
My barbarous wit so nimbly, in a wind 

46 



w. 835-861 RHESUS 

Of words ? This work was thine. And no man's head 
Is asked by us^ the wounded and the dead, 
Save thine. It needs more play, and better feigned, 
Xo hide from me that thou hast slain thy friend 
By craft, to steal his horses. — ^That is why 
He stabs his friends. He prays them earnestly. 
Prays them to come ; they came and they are dead 
A cleaner man was Paris, when he fled 
With his host's wife. He was no murderer. 
Profess not thou that any Greek was there 
To fall on us. What Greek could pass the screen 
Of Trojan posts in front of us, unseen ? 
Thyself was stationed there, and all thy men. 
What man of yours was slain or wounded when 
Your Greek spies came ? Not one ; 'tis we, behind. 
Are wounded, and some worse than wounded, blind 
Forever to the sunlight. When we seek 
Our vengeance, we shall go not to the Greek. 
What stranger in that darkness could have trod 
Straight to where Rhesus lay — imless some God 
Pointed his path ? They knew not, whispered not, 
Rhesiis had ever come. . . . 'Tis all a plot. 

Hector {steadied and courteous again). 

Good allies I have had since first the Greek 
Set foot in Troy, and never heard them speak 
Complaint of Hector. Thou wilt be the first. 
I have not, by God's mercy, such a thirst 
For horses as to murder for their sake. 

[He turns to his own men* 
Odysseus ! Yet again Odysseus ! Take 
All the Greek armies, is there one but he 

47 



EURIPIDES w. 862-876 

Could have devised, or dared^ this devilry i 
I fear him ; yea, fear in mine own despite, 
Lest Dolon may have crossed him in the night 
And perished ; 'tis so long he cometh not. 

Thracian. 

I know not who Odysseus is, nor what. 
I know it was no Greek that wounded us. 

Hector. 
To think thus pleasures thee ? Well, have it thus. 

Thracian. 
Home, home ! To die at home and rest my head ! 

Hector. 
Nay, die not, friend. We have enough of dead. 

Thracian. 
How can I live ? Lost, and my master slain. 

Hector. 
My house will shelter thee and heal thy pain. 

Thracian. 

Thy house ? Will murderers* nursing give me peace ? 

Hector. 
Still the same tale ! This man will never cease. 

Thracian. 

My curse rest — not on Hector, but on those 
Who stabbed us, as thou say'st. — Ah, Justice knows ! 

4» 



w. 877-891 RHESUS 

Hector. 

There, lift him. — Bear him to my house. Take pains, 

If care can do it, that the man complains 

No more of Troy. — Ye others, bear withal 

To Priam and the Elders of the Wall 

My charge, that, where the cart-road from the plain 

Branches, they make due burial for our slain. 

{One party of Guards lifis carefiilly the 
wounded Thracian and goes off bearing 
him : another departs with the message to 
Troy. 

Chorus. 

Back from the heights of happiness. 
Back, back, to labour and distress 
Some god that is not ours doth lead 
Troy and her sons ; He sows the seed. 
Who knows the reaping ? 
[In the air at the back there appears a Fision 
of the Mus£ holding the body of her dead 
son Rhesus. 
Ah! Ah! 
My king, what cometh ? There appears 
Some Spirit, like a mist of tears ; 
And in her arms a man lieth. 
So young, so wearied unto death ; 
To see such vision presageth 
Wrath and great weeping. 
[The Guards hide their heads in their mantles. 

Muse. 

Nay, look your fill, ye Trojans. It is I, 
The many-sistered Muse, of worship high 

49 D 



EURIPIDES w. 892-914 

In wise men's hearts, who come to mourn mine own 
Most pitifully loved, most injured, son, 
For whose shed blood Odysseus yet shall pay 
Vengeance, who crawled and stabbed him where he 
lay. 

With a dirge of the Thracian mountains, 
I mourn for thee, Ο my son• 
For a mother's weeping, for a galley's launching, for 

the way to Troy ; 
A sad going, and watched by spirits of evil. 
His mother chid him to stay, but he rose and went* 
His father besought him to stay, but he went in 
anger. 
Ah, woe is me for thee, thou dear face, 
My beloved and my son ! 

Leader. 

Goddess, if tears for such as thee may run 
In our low eyes, I weep for thy dead son• 

Muse. 

I say to thee : Curse Odysseus, 
And cursed be Diomede ! 
For they made me childless, and forlorn for ever, of 

the flower of sons. 
Yea, curse Helen, who left the houses of Hellas. 
She knew her lover, she feared not the ships and sea. 
She called thee, called thee, to die for the sake of 
Paris, 
Beloved, and a thousand cities 

She made empty of good men• 

50 



w. 915-941 RHESUS 

Ο conquered Thamyris, is this thy bane 
Returned from death to pierce my heart again ? 
Thy pride it was, and bitter challenge cast 
'Gainst all the Muses, did my flesh abase 
To bearing of this Child, what time I passed 
Through the deep stream and looked on Strymon's 

face, 
And felt his great arms clasp me, when to old 
Pangaion and the earth of hoarded gold 
We Sisters came with lutes and psalteries, 
Provoked to meet in bitter strife of song 
That mountain wizard, and made dark the eyes 
OfThamyris, who wrought sweet music wrong. 
I bore thee, Child ; and then, in shame before 
My sisterhood, my dear virginity, 
I stood again upon thy Father's shore 
And cast thee to the deeps of him ; and he 
Received and to no mortal nursing gave 
His child, but to the Maidens of the Wave. 
And well they nursed thee, and a king thou wast 
And first of Thrace in war ; yea, far and near 
Through thine own hills thy bloody chariot passed, 
Thy battered helm flashed, and I had no fear ; 
Only to Troy 1 charged thee not to go : 
I knew the fated end : but Hector's cry. 
Borne overseas by embassies of woe. 
Called thee to battle for thy friends and die. 

And thou, Athena — nothing was the deed 
Odysseus wrought this night nor Diomcde — 
Tis thine, all thine ; dream not. thy cruel hand 
Is hid from me ! Yet ever on thy land 
The Muse hath smiled ; we gave it praise above 

51 



EURIPIDES w. 942-963 

All cities, yea, fulfilled it with our love. 

The light of thy great Mysteries was shed 

By Orpheus, very cousin of this dead 

Whom thou hast slain ; and thine high citizen 

Musaeus, wisest of the tribes of men, 

We and Apollo guided all his way : 

For which long love behold the gift ye pay ! 

I wreathe him in my arms ; I wail his wrong 

Alone, and ask no other mourner's song. 

[She weeps over Rhesus• 

Leader. 

Hector, thou hearest. We were guiltless here. 
And falsely spake that Thracian charioteer. 

Hector. 

Always I knew it. Had we any need 
Of seers to tell this was Odysseus* deed ? 

For me, what could I else, when I beheld 
The hosts of Argos camped upon this field, 
What but with prayers and heralds bid my friend 
Come forth and fight for Ilion ere the end ? 
He owed me that. — Yet, now my friend is slain. 
His sorrow is my sorrow. On this plain 
I will uplift a wondrous sepulchre, 
And burn about it gifts beyond compare 
Of robes and frankincense. To Troy's relief 
He came in love and parteth in great grief. 

Muse. 

My son shall not be laid in any grave 
Of darkness ; thus much guerdon will I crave 

52 



w. 964-985 RHESUS 

Of Death's eternal bride, the heavenly-born 
Maid of Dcmeter, Life of fruits and corn, 
To set this one soul free. She owes me yet, 
For Orpheus widowed, an abiding debt. 

To me he still must be — that know I well — 
As one in death, who sees not. Where I dwell 
He must not come, nor see his mother's face. 
Alone for ever, in a caverned place 
Of silver-veinid earth, hid from men's sight, 
A Man yet Spirit, he shall live in light : 
As under far Pangaion Orpheus lies. 
Priest of great light and worshipped of the wise. 

Howbeit an easier anguish even to me 
Falls than to Thetis in her azure sea ; 
For her son too shall die ; and sorrowing. 
First on the hills our band for thee shall sing, 
Then for Achilles by the weeping wave. 
Pallas could murder thee, but shall not save 
Thy foe ; too swift Apollo's bolt shall fly. 

Ο fleshly loves of sad mortality, 
Ο bitter motherhood of these that die. 
She that hath wisdom will endure her doom. 
The days of emptiness, the fruitless womb ; 
Not love, not bear love's children to the tomb. 

[ The Vision rises through the air and vanishes* 



Leader. 

The dead man sleepeth in his mother's care ; 
But we who battle still — behold, the glare 
Of dawn that rises. Doth thy purpose hold. 
Hector, our arms are ready as of old. 

53 



EURIPIDES ▼. 986-996 

Hector. 

March on ; and bid the allies with all speed 
Be armed, bind fast the yoke upon the steed, 
Then wait with torches burning, till we sound 
The Tuscan trump. — ^This day we shall confound, 
God tells me, their Greek phalanx, break their high 
Rampart and fire the galleys where they lie. 

[Pointing to the dazvn^ 
Yon first red arrow of the Sun, that brings 
The dawn to Troy, hath freedom on his wings. 

During the following lines Hector goes to his tent to get 
his shieldy and as he enters sees DoLON*s hhody wolf- 
skin hanging. He takes ity looks at it^ and throws it 
down without a word. Then he puts on his helmety 
takes his shield and spear^ and follows the Guards as 
they march off. 

Chorus. 

The Chief hath spoken : let his will 
Be law, ye Trojans. — Raise the cry 

To Arms 1 To Arms I and down the line 

Of allies pass the battle-sign. 

The God of Ilion liveth still ; 

And men may conquer ere they die. 

[Exeunt. 



54 



NOTES 

The play presupposes a knowledge of the Iliad in 
some form, if not exactly in the form which it now 
wears• We are not only supposed to know that 
Hector, son of Priam, leads the Trojans and their 
allies (^^ Trojans, and Lycians, and Dardans bold " : 
in tragedy they are also called Phrygians) in defence 
against the Greeks — Argives, Achaeans, Hellenes — 
under Agamemnon, king of men, and his brother 
Menelaus, husband of Helen. This sort of sup- 
position is usual in all Greek tragedy. It merely 
means that the poet takes for granted the main out- 
lines of the heroic saga. But in this play we are also 
supposed to take up the story as it stands at the 
opening of the Doloneia or Tenth Book of the Iliad. 
Indeed one might almost say that the Rhesus is 
simply the Doloneia turned into drama and set in 
the Trojan camp. The only other play that is taken 
straight from Homer is the Satyr-play, Cyclops^ which 
tells the story of Odyssey IX., but it is likely enough 
that if we possessed more of the earlier epic literature 
we should find many other plays closely hugging 
their traditional sources. — The Trojans are camping 
out on the field of battle, close to the Greek lines. 
Hector, always ready for danger, seems to have his 
tent or log-hut set up quite in the van, just behind 
the outposts. In II. X. 415 £Γ. he is holding counsel 

55 



EURIPIDES 

with the other chieftains ** away from the throng ** j 
the allies are taking their sleep and trusting to the 
Trojans, who keep awake in groups round the camp 
fires ; no watchword is mentioned. 

P• 5> 1• 30> The priest.] — He would be needed 
to make the sacrifice before battle. 

P. 5, 1. 36, The lash of trembling Pan.] — ie.y a 
panic. 

P. 5, 1. 4I9 Great beacons in the Argive line•] — 
In the Iliad it is the Trojan watch-fires that are 
specially mentioned, especially VIII. 553-end. There 
is no great disturbance in the Greek camp in the 
Doloneia ; there is a gathering of the principal chie^, 
a visit to the Guards, and the despatch of the two 
spies, but no general tumult such as there is in 
Book II. One cannot help wondering whether our 
playwright found in his version of the Doloneia a 
description of fires in the Greek camp, such as our 
Eighth Book has of those in the Trojan camp. The 
object might be merely protection against a night 
attack, or i^ might be a wish to fly, as Hector thinks. 
If so, presimiably tjie Assembly changed its mind — 
much as it does in our Book II. — and determined to 
send spies. 

P. 5, 1. 43 fF., The shipyard timbers.] — The 
Greeks had their ships drawn up on the beach and 
protected by some sort of wooden " shipyard '* ; then 
came the camp ; then, outside the whole, a trench 
and a wall. The fires were in the camp. 

P. 8, 1. 105, Brother ! I would thy wit were like 
thy spear !] — In Homer Hector is impulsive and over- 
daring, but still good in counsel. On the stage every 
quality that is characteristic is apt to be over* 

56 



NOTES 

emphasized, all that is not characteristic neglected. 
Hence on the Attic stage Odysseus is more crafty, 
Ajax and Diomedes more blunt, Menelaus more 
unwarlike and more uxorious than in Homer• 

This speech of Aeneas, though not inapposite, is 
rather didactic — a fault which always remained a 
danger to Euripides. 

P. ιο,1. 150 ff., Dolon.] — The name is derived from 
doks^ "craft.'* In our version of Homer Dolon 
merely wears, over his tunic, the skin of a grey wolf. 
He has a leather cap and a bow. In the play he goes, 
as Red Indian spies used to go, actually disguised as 
a wolf, on all fours in a complete wolf-skin. The 
same version is found on the Munich cylix of the 
early vase-painter Euphronius (about 500 B.C.), in 
which Dolon wears a tight-fitting hairy skin with 
a long tail. The plan can of course only succeed in 
a country where wild animals are common enough 
to be thought unimportant. The playwright has 
evidently chosen a more primitive and romantic 
version of the story ; the Homeric reviser has, as 
usual, cut out what might seem ridiculous. (See 
J. A. K. Thomson in Classical Review^ xxv. pp. 238 f.) 

P. 12, 1. 175, Ajax, ileus* son.] — "Ajax" is men- 
tioned here and at 11. 463, 497, 601, as apparently 
next in importance to the two Atreidae or to Achilles. 
That is natural, but it is a shock to have him here de- 
scribed as son of Ileus. In the Iliad we should have 
had " Ajax son of Telamon." The son of Ileus is 
" Ajax the less," a hero of the second rank. Scholars 
have conjectured on other grounds that in some older 
form of the Iliad-saga Ajax son of Ileus was of much 
greater importance. The father " Telamon " and the 

57 



EURIPIDES 

connection with Aegina arc neither of them original 
in the myth• 

P. 12, 1. 182, Achilles' horses.] — They are as 
glorious in the Iliad as they are here. Cf. especially 
the passages where they bear Automedon out of the 
battle (end of XVI.), and where Xanthos is given a 
himian voice to warn his master of the coming of 
death (end of XIX.). The heroic age of Greece de- 
lighted in horses* Cf• those of Aeneas, Diomedes, 
Eum^lus, and Rhesus himself• 

P. 15, 11. 225-263, Chorus.] — Apollo is appealed to 
as a God of Thymbra in the Troad, of Delos the 
Ionian island, and of Lycia in the South of Asia 
Minor ; the god of Asiatics and harbaroi^ the enemy 
of the Achaeans. This is also to a great extent the 
conception of Apollo in the Iliad, where he fights 
for Troy and is Hector's special patron. The sudden 
ferocity towards Helen in the last strophe is quite in 
the manner of Euripides; cf. Trojan Women^ 1107 
flF. (p. 65), 766 fF. (p. 49), and often ; also Iph. Taur, 
438 ff. (p. 21), where her name comes somewhat as 
a surprise. 

The stage directions here are of course conjectural : 
it does not seem likely that the playwright, having 
made Dolon describe his wolf's disguise in detail, 
would waste the opportunity of making him crawl off 
in it. Cf. on 1. 594, p. 63, and at the end of the play. 

P. 16, 1. 267• Hector is as bluff and hasty here as he 
is impulsively obstinate in 1. 319 ff., p• 19, impulsively 
frank to Rhesus in 1. 393 ff., p. 23, and splendidly 
courteous under the gibes of the wounded charioteer, 
1. 856 ff., p. 47. A fine stage character, if not a very 
subtle study. 

58 



NOTES 

P. 17,1. 284 ff. The description of the march of the 
mountaineers, the vast crowd, the noise, the mixture 
of λΆ arms, suggests personal observation. A great 
many fifth-century Athenians had probably served 
some time or other in Thrace. 

P. 20, 1. 342, Adrasteia.] — She-from-whom-there-is- 
no-Rimning, is a goddess identified with Nemesis, a 
requiter of sin, especially the sin of pride or over- 
confidence. In spite of the opening apology this 
whole chorus, with its boundless exultation, is an 
offence against her. — It is interesting to notice that a 
town and a whole district in the north of the Troad 
was called by her name ; the poet is using local colour 
in making his Trojans here, and Rhesus in 1. 468, 
speak of her. There seems also to be something 
characteristically Thracian in the story of the Muse 
and the River, in the title "Zeus of the Dawn** 
given to Rhesus, in the revelry to be held when Ilion 
is free, and in the conception of the king in his 
dazzling chariot, Sun-god-like• 

P. 23, 11. 394-453, Speeches of Hector and Rhesus.] 
— The scene reads to me like a rather crude and 
early form of the celebrated psychological controversies 
of Eiu'ipides. It is simple, but spirited and in char- 
acter. The description of Thracian fighting again 
suggests personal knowledge, and so does the boasting. 
The Thracians apparently bound themselves with 
heroic boasts before battle much as Irish and Highland 
chieftains sometimes did, or as the Franks did with 
their gabs. (See, e,g.j Le Pilerinage de Charlemagne^ 
as described in Gaston Paris, Litt. du Moyen Age^ I. 
p. 122 ff.) It was a disgrace if you did not fulfil your 
gah afterwards* 

59 



EURIPIDES 

Rhesus's defence is apparently true, though in a 
modern play one would have expected some explana- 
tion of the rather different story that his mother tells, 
1. 933 ff., p. 51. Perhaps he did not realise how she 
was holding him back. In any case ancient technique 
prefers to leave such details unsettled : cf., for instance, 
Helen's speech in the Trojan Women^ in which the 
false is evidently mixed up with the true, and they 
are never separated afterwards. 

P. 25, 11. 454 flF. This little Chorus seems to 
represent — in due tragic convention — an irrepressible 
outburst of applause from the Trojans, interrupting 
Rhesus's speech. In spite of the words about possible 
"wrath" that may follow the Thracian's boasting, 
the applause excites him at once to a yet bolder gah. 

P. 26, 1. 480. It may be remarked that the play 
here uses a fairly common Homeric phrase in a 
sense which the scholars of our tradition knew but 
rejected. 

P. 27, 1. 501 ff. These three achievements of 
Odysseus are all in the traditional saga. The Rapt of 
the Palladium, or figure of Pallas, by Odysseus and 
Diomedes, was in an old lost epic, called The Little 
Iliad ; the Begging in Troy in the Little Iliad and 
also in Odyssey IV. 242 ff.; the great ambuscades in 
Odyssey IV. 290 ff., VIII. 493 ff., and in Odysseus's 
own feigned story, XIV. 468 ff. According to our 
tradition they belong to a later period of the war than 
the death of Rhesus, but perhaps the sequence was 
different, or not so definite, at the time of this play. 

P. 28, 1. 528. Rhesus shows the simple courage of 
a barbarian in his contempt for the ruses of Odysseus, 
the brutality of a barbarian in the methods of punish- 

60 



NOTES 

ment he proposes. Such proposals would disgust a 
Greek ; it looks as if they displeased Hector. In any 
case his abruptness here, and his careful indication of 
the place where the Thracians are to sleep, far from 
the rest of the camp, have some dramatic value for 
the sequel. 

Pp. 28-30, 11. 527-564, Stars and Nightingale 
chorus.] — ^The beauty of these lines in the Greek is 
quite magical, but the stage management of the scene is 
difficult. Apparently Hector (1. 523) bids the Guards 
come forward from where they are and wait nearer 
the front for Dolon ; obeying this they come up from 
the orchestra, we may suppose, to the stage. Then 
watching somewhere near Hector's tent they partly 
express, in the usual song, the lyrical emotion of the 
night, partly they chat about Dolon and the order 
of the watches. The scene is technically very in- 
teresting with its rather abrupt introduction of realism 
into the high convention of tragedy. Meantime the 
Trojans' time of watch is over and the Lycians, who 
ought to watch next, have not come. In a modern 
army it would of course be the duty of the new watch 
to come and relieve the old ; in an ancient barbaric 
army — characteristically — the old watch had to go 
and wake the new. You could not, one must suppose, 
trust them to take their turn otherwise. At the end 
of the first strophe a Guard suggests that they should 
rouse the Lycians 5 at the end of the second the 
Leader definitely gives the word to do so. The 
Guards go, and so the stage (and orchestra) is left 
empty. 

This is plain enough ; but why were the Guards 
brought away from their original position — from the 

61 



EURIPIDES 

orchestra to the stage ? Probably to allow the Greek 
spies to pass on towards the Thraci'an camp by a 
different and unoccupied way, not by the way which 
the Guards had just taken. 

The story of the Nightingale is well known : she 
was Philomela, or in the older story Procn£, an 
Athenian princess, wedded to the faithless Thracian 
king,T6reus. In a fury of vengeance on her husband 
she slew their only son, Itys or Itylus, and now laments 
him broken-hearted for ever. 

P. 3 1, 1. 567 ff., Odysseus ana Diomedes.] — Observe 
how we are left gradually to discover that they have 
met and killed Dolon. They enter carrying, as far 
as we can make out, a wolf-skin that looks like his : 
they had evidently spoken to him, 11. 572, 575 : it is 
his and they have killed him — 1. 592 f. 

All the Odysseus- Diomedes scenes have something 
unusual about them, something daring, turbulent, and 
perhaps lacking in dramatic tact• The silent rush on 
Hector's empty tent is hard to parallel. The cruel 
Athena is Euripidean ; but her appearance in the 
midst of the action is startling, though it may be paral- 
leled from Sophocles' Ajax. In Euripides Gods are 
generally kept for the prologue or epilogue, away from 
the ordinary action. (The vision of Iris and Lyssa in 
the middle of the Heracles has at least the stage clear 
of mortals and the Chorus apparently in a kind of 
dream.) Again the conception of Athena pretending 
to be Cypris is curious. The disguised Athena is 
common in the Odyssey, but she does not disguise 
herself as another goddess. (It is sometimes held that 
this scene requires four actors, which would be a 
decisive mark of lateness ; but this is not really so. 

62 



NOTES 

The actor who took Odysseus could easily get round 
in time to take Paris also — especially if he made his 
exit at 1. 626, before Athena sees Paris. And the 
Greek stage had no objection to such doubling.) 
Lastly, the scene of turmoil between the spies and the 
Giiards is extraordinary in a tragedy, though it would 
suit well in a pro-satyric play• See Introduction. 

P. 33, 1. 594, Stage direction.] — They bear Dolon's 
"spoils" or "tokens*': probably his wolf-skin. If 
they bring it with them they must probably do some- 
thing with it, and to hang it where it may give 
Hector a violent start seems the natural proceeding. 
Also, they can hardly be carrying it in the scene with 
the Guards, 1. 675 ff., p. 38 f. That would be mad- 
ness. They must have got rid of it before then, and 
this seems the obvious place for doing so. 

P. 36, 11. 637 ff., Athena as Cypris.] — It is not 
clear how this would be represented on the Greek 
stage, though there is no reason to think there would 
be any special difficulty. On a modern stage it could 
be worked as follows : — ^The Goddess will be behind 
a gauze, so that she is invisible when only the lights 
in front of the gauze are lit, but visible when a light 
goes up behind it. She will first appear with helmet 
and spear in some hard light ; then disappear and be 
rediscovered in the same place in a softer light, the 
helmet and spear gone and some emblems of Cypris — 
say a flower and a dove — in their place. Of course 
the voice will change too. 

The next scene, where the two spies are caught 
and let go, is clear enough in its general structure ; 
the details must remain conjectural. 

P. 40, 1. 703, What the High God.]— It would be 

63 



. EURIPIDES 

unparalleled in classical Greek to describe a man by 
his religion ; but this phrase seems only to mean ζ 
** What is his tribal God ? " i.e. what is his tribe ? 
Thus it could be said of Isagoras in Herodotus (v. 66) 
that his kinsmen sacrificed to Carian Zeus, suggesting, 
presumably, that he had Carian blood. 

P. 42, 1. 728, Voice of the wounded man out- 
side.] — The puzzled and discouraged talk of the 
Guards round the fire, the groaning in the darkness 
without, the quick alarm among the men who had 
been careless before, and the slow realisation of 
disaster that follows — all these seem to me to be 
wonderfully indicated, though the severe poetic con- 
vention excludes any approach to what we, by modern 
prose standards, would call efifective realism. 

P. 44, 11. 756-803. This fine vivid speech has 
something of the famous Euripidean Messenger- 
Speeches in it ; though they are apt to be much 
longer and also are practically never spoken by a 
principal in the action, always by a subordinate or an 
onlooker. Cf. the speech of the Messenger-Shepherd 
above, p. 17 f. An extreme sharpness of articulation is 
characteristic of Euripides' later work : each speech, 
each 'scene, each effect is isolated and made complete 
in itself. The Messenger prepares his message, relates 
his message and goes, not mixing himself up in the 
further fortunes of the drama. But this extreme 
pursuit of lucidity and clear outlines is not nearly so 
marked in the early plays : in the Cyclops the 
Messenger's speech is actually spoken by Odysseus, 
11. 382-436, and the Serving Man and Serving Maid 
in the Alcestis are not mere abstract Messengers. 

P. 46, U. 810-830, Hector and the Guard.] — There 

64 



NOTES 

is intentional colour here — the impulsive half-barbaric 
rage of Hector, the oriental grovelling of the Guard, 
and of course the quick return to courteous self- 
mastery with which Hector receives the taunts of the 
wounded man. 

P. 46, 1. 819. The Guard seems to think that the 
spies got past him when he came to Hector's tent 
at the beginning of the play. It was really later, 
when he made his men leave their post to wake the 
Lycians. Perhaps he is lying. 

P. 48, 1. 876, Justice knows.] — It is a clever touch 
to leave the Thracian still only half-convinced and 
gnunbling. 

P. 49, 1. 882, Appearance of the Muse.] — A beau- 
tiftil scene. It has been thought to come abruptly and, 
as it were, unskilfully on top of the familiar dialogue 
between Hector and the Thracian. But the move- 
ments, first of soldiers lifting and carrying the wounded 
man, and then of messengers taking word to Priam for 
burial of the men slain, make the transition much 
easier. 

P. 50, 1. 895 ff. and 1. 906 ff., A dirge of the Thracian 
mountains.] — Such dirges must have struck the Greeks 
as the fragments of Ossian struck the Lowlanders 
among us• I have found that the dirge here goes 
naturally into a sort of Ossianic rhythm. 

P. 51, 1. 915. The speech of the Muse seems like 
the writing of a poet who is, for the moment, tired 
of mere drama, and wishes to get back into his own 
element. Such passages are characteristic of Euri- 
pides. — The death of Rhesus seems to the Muse like 
an act of vengeance from the dead Thamyris, the 
Thracian bard who had blasphemed the Muses and 

65 Ε 



EURIPIDES 

challenged them to a contest of song• They con- 
quered him and left him blind, but still a poet• The 
story in Homer is more terrible, though more civilised : 
''They in wrath made him a maimed man, they took 
away his heavenly song and made him forget his 
harping." 

Thamyris, the bard who defied Heaven ; Orpheus, 
the bard, saint, lover, whose severed head still cried 
for his lost Eurydice ; Musaeus, the bard of mystic 
wisdom and initiations — are the three great legendary 
figures of this Northern mountain minstrelsy• 

P. 52, 1. 950• These short speeches between Hector 
and the Leader of the Guard make a jarring note in 
the midst of the Muse's lament• Perhaps it would 
not be so if we knew how the play was produced, 
but at present this seems like one of several marks 
of comparative crudity in technique which mark the 
play, amid all its daring and inventiveness• 

P• 52, 1• 962 ff.y My son shall not be laid in any 
grave.] — Like other Northern barbaric princes, such as 
Orpheus (1. 972 below) and Zalmoxis (Herodotus, iv• 
95) and Holgar the Dane, Rhesus lies in a hidden 
chamber beneath the earth, watching, apparently, for 
the day of uttermost need when he must rise to help 
his people. There is no other passage in Greek tragedy 
where such a fate is attributed to a hero, though the 
position of Darius in the Persae and Agamemnon 
in the Choephori or the Electra is in some ways 
analogous• 

The last lines of the Muse have a very Euripidean 

ring : cf. Medea^ 1. 1090 (p• 61, ''My thoughts have 

roamed a cloudy land "), Akestisj 1. 882. 

P. 54, 11. 983«end• This curious and moving end 

66 



NOTES 

— not in death or peace but in a girding of tired men 
to greater toil — reminds one of the last words of The 
Trojan Women*. "Forth to the long Greek ships 
And the sea's foaming," and the last words of the 
Chanson de Roland there quoted• 

The Trojans evidently go forth under the shadow 
of disaster, though with firmness and courage. The 
stage direction is of course purely conjectural. If 
Diomedes left some sign of Dolon's death for Hector 
to see, as he probably must have done, then Hector 
must at some time or other see it. If so, this seems 
to be the place. 



THE END 



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